High-speed rail chalks up legal win

Judge Culhane dismisses Menlo Park residents' lawsuit

Even as news spread of a fresh lawsuit against high-speed rail, the beleaguered rail authority announced the dismissal of a different suit.

Filed in April by Menlo Park residents Morris Brown and attorney Mike Brady, the lawsuit asked the court to rule on how the California High-Speed Rail Authority can legally use $9.95 billion in bond funds.

The suit alleged that construction could not legally begin until the rail authority had enough money to finish what it started. According to court filings, the plaintiffs stated that since the project is "severely under-funded," starting construction would only waste the money.

The rail authority asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit in June, according to spokeswoman Rachel Wall, believing that it did not actually allege illegal conduct.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Kevin Culhane sided with the rail authority on Sept. 21, calling the plaintiffs' claim "speculative" in his ruling.

"Although plaintiffs contend waste is imminent, the manner in which they have framed the requested relief reveals that plaintiffs are seeking an advisory opinion rather than an order that imminent waste be halted," the ruling stated.

Ms. Wall said that lawsuits over a massive infrastructure project like high-speed rail don't come as a surprise.

"We remain committed to working with the people in the communities statewide to help design the best project possible for the state," she said.

This was the second pro bono lawsuit Mr. Brady had filed against the rail agency, and the second dismissal.

The first suit, filed last year on behalf of Menlo Park City Council candidate Russ Peterson, asked the court to forbid the agency from starting work on the Peninsula segment without the consent of Union Pacific, which has ownership rights over the Caltrain corridor. That suit was dismissed in June.


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Posted by Member
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 23, 2010 at 2:50 pm

I believe the bond amount is $9.95 Billion, not million.

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Posted by Trillion
a resident of Jackson Park
on Sep 23, 2010 at 3:56 pm

If it's $9.95 million then it's SEVERELY underfunded.

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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 24, 2010 at 9:46 am

If it's ten cents, it's ten cents wasted.

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Posted by Andrea Gemmet
Mountain View Voice Editor
on Sep 24, 2010 at 10:25 am

Andrea Gemmet is a registered user.

Thanks for the catch -- it is $9.95 billion, not million.

Like this comment
Posted by Pine Source
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 24, 2010 at 4:14 pm

We can see this Menlo Park resident use different excuses to find fault with the High Speed Rail Authority.

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Posted by Member
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 24, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Well, I'm not worried about $9.95 Billion. Not a single inch of high speed rail track will be laid.

Look at Bart to San Jose as a (non)example, or Bart to Oakland Airport for $480 million to go a few miles.

What I'm interested in is how the election was stolen. When I went to bed, the bond was losing with 80% percent reporting. When I woke up, the money was gone. And bonds couldn't be a worse way to fund a project.

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Posted by thetruth
a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2010 at 8:58 am

Wrong the HSR bond was never loosing by 8o percent..unless they only had counted Atherton vote!! If the economy had not tanked it would have passed by an even larger margin..!! people that voted NO cant get that thru there head HSR is wanted!!

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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 25, 2010 at 10:12 am

HSR is only wanted by the tax parasites who derive their incomes from it.

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Posted by Rail good, HSR bad
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 29, 2010 at 1:43 pm

At least, residents in Menlo Park are speaking up a little more than here. Forget about the 9.95B bond; this thing is going to cost $43.6B if we believe HSRA, and $100B or more (mostly of OUR money) if we believe actual experts.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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